Last week, the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris went down in flames and people in France, and across the world, were devastated to lose such a historic site. A Notre-Dame fund was started to help to rebuild the church and to everyone's shock, it only took a couple of days to raise over one billion euros.
How did that happen? A famous French billionaire began a "race of giving."
While some people praised the generosity of the people donating so much money to the cause, others were outraged. Twitter-users condemned the rich, claiming that it's no donation if you attach your name to it.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Vests began protests across several locations in Paris. They believed that the government was siding with the upper class, further worsening the income inequality that plagues France.
Anonymous, the infamous hacker-activist group, has joined the protesters, releasing a video-warning to the billionaires.
Read on to find out more about the protests that have led to several arrests and the release of tear gas, and what Anonymous had to say about the billionaire donations.
On April 15th, the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris caught on fire.
The cathedral is not only an important part of French history but of Catholic history, too.
"We'll rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it," he said.
In just two days, the Notre-Dame fund raised over one billion euros for its restoration.
Meanwhile, Francois-Henri Pinault donated €100 million ($112 million).VT, among the billionaires were construction magnates, Martin and Olivier Bouygues; cosmetics giant, L'Oreal; oil company, Total and investor, Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere.
But, unfortunately, these donations most likely had little to do with the businessmen's altruism.
Twitter-user, Keiso wrote, "While ppl can spend their money how they want, the fact Notre-Dame raised so much money so fast says a lot."
Another Twitter-user, Rose Newell, supported neither the billionaires nor the protesters.
According to Newell, this explains why the rich don’t donate when there is an actual crisis.
A Twitter-user, who goes by the name Nationalise Cosmo Cans!, compared the Notre-Dame fire to the fire that destroyed Grenfell Tower in London two years ago.
He wrote, "Imagine if Grenfell had some really important stained glass windows and examples of gothic architecture, instead of just human beings."
"Something will be done about this."
He continued, "For the avoidance of doubt, it’s okay to be upset about the senseless loss of history, of culture, of art."
"Especially in Paris," he added, "which remains one of the most economically divided, indeed segregated, cities in the world."
Clearly, hundreds of French people thought the same thing when they marched in the streets of Paris on Saturday.Prepare For Change, protesters believed that the way the government and the upper class responded to the Notre-Dame fire only proved their "ongoing inaction to combat income inequality."
The protesters are known as the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests.
Yellow vest protesters move out from Bercy in Paris on one of 2 authorised marches. Police very much in evidence on… https://t.co/NYDqZQSp1j— Luke Shrago (@Luke Shrago)1555756687.0
Founder of the movement, Ingrid Levavasseur, told France 24, "You’re there, looking at all these millions accumulating, after spending five months in the streets fighting social and fiscal injustice. It’s breaking my heart."Some of the activists said they cried in front of their TV sets as they watched the Gothic architectural masterpiece being consumed by flames Monday night and some even made small donations for the restoration of the iconic building, despite their struggles to make ends meet."
"But grief turned to anger for many," Levavasseur continued.
"What happened at Notre-Dame is obviously a deplorable tragedy," she added. "But nobody died."
One sign at the protest read, "Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre-Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Miserables."
Prepare For Change says that, by Saturday afternoon, one-hundred and twenty-six protesters had already been arrested.
The Notre-Dame fire and income inequality issues have reached people in the US, too.
Whereas Flint doesn’t have clean drinking water, Puerto Rico hasn’t fully recovered, and 3 black churches burned to… https://t.co/nSULOmx1TG— Eugene Gu, MD (@Eugene Gu, MD)1555458465.0